Many U.S. workers want to keep masking policies in the workplace

July 7, 2021

Fifty-seven percent of adults recently surveyed by the American Staffing Association said they believe employees still should be required to wear masks when working on-site—even after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, according to The survey was conducted June 10-14 and engaged 2,066 adult respondents from the U.S.

Additionally, although 60% of respondents said it was “no one's business but [their] own” whether they received a vaccine, 66% said they had “a right to know” whether their co-workers had been vaccinated.

At 70% and 64%, respectively, black and Latino workers were more likely to agree with on-site masking even after vaccination compared with 50% of white workers. Baby boomers and members of the silent generation were more likely to say workers have a right to know their co-workers’ vaccination statuses, and members of Generation X, millennials and those younger were more likely to say vaccination status is an individual’s private business.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the vaccine is effective at preventing infection from and the spread of COVID-19, and the agency has eased guidelines for fully vaccinated people, suggesting they can stop wearing masks and stop practicing social distancing and resume normal activities. However, the public remains hesitant to abandon some safety protocols.

In June, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released guidance stating most employers “no longer need to take steps to protect their workers from COVID-19 exposure in any workplace, or well-defined portions of a workplace, where all employees are fully vaccinated.” However, for employees who are unvaccinated, OSHA recommends continuing to implement masking, physical distancing and other safety protocols.

Because many workplaces are likely to have vaccinated and unvaccinated employees, the ASA survey results demonstrate employees’ desire for privacy could be confusing for employers.

“As worksites reopen across the country, employee concerns about COVID-19 are creating a challenging privacy paradox,” said ASA President and CEO Richard Wahlquist. “Employees want to know whether their fellow co-workers have been vaccinated but don’t want to make their own status public. In balancing these interests, employers must keep workplace safety considerations top of mind.”


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